The Science of Fear

A couple of weeks back, news broke about a woman who lacks the ability to experience the emotion, fear due to a damaged amygdala.

In sum, she was given a series of tests to determine which situations if any that she felt fear.Ultimately she scored a 0% (yet is able to experience other emotions such as anger). From the livescience article linked above, this woman has certainly experienced some PTSD-worthy situations in her life (being held at gunpoint, et cetera) and still recalls the situations as making her “upset” and “angry,” but not afraid.

Got me thinking…about the myriad of ridiculous things in my day to day life that I fear:

(image from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_jBIk61pGWyk/TDSMxQ72G7I/AAAAAAAAC34/xIAgQvhkfyk/s1600/cheesecake-factory.gif)

Or even fears of hypothetical situations:

  • Getting lost driving in a sketcharoni neighbourhood
  • Rejection
  • Failure
  • Going up a size (unless we’re talking breasts of course)
  • Getting attacked while walking to my car in a parking garage
  • Accidentally “liking” something while Facebook stalking

Fear is not only a powerful but necessary emotion. It can serve on one hand as a protective mechanism and a motivator- a motivator to look up directions and carry a map in my car, a motivator to sharpen my skill set and log hours at the library, a motivator to NOT ever Facebook stalk while using a touch screen mobile device…

However, on the other hand in excess, fear can also debilitate one and make them cynical of themselves- be so extreme as to prevent someone from stepping out of their comfort zones, from experimenting, from potentially securing an opportunity they may have perceived as being “too good for them.”

That’s my goal in 2011- to reevaluate the role fear  plays in my daily life, to reevaluate the distorted consequences I imagine for risks which may end up weighing significantly more on the benefit rather than the cost side.

But…still…if you ever take me out on a date, please oh please do not suggest The Cheesecake Factory.

What role does fear play in your life?

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3 thoughts on “The Science of Fear

  1. What an awesome goal! btw, love the new site- so classy and sleek!!
    hahha cheesecake factory…such a weird place! did you know it’s designed to look like the inside of a womb? WTF?
    I am so afraid of spiders or other creepy-crawlers, the dark, being alone, heights; the list could go on for days!
    Are you still in Oregon? How’s school?

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